The New York Mets have made a more concerted effort to invest in the international free agent market over the past several years. Since Omar Minaya returned to the organization, the Mets have done a better job identifying amateur talent in the international market, which is a great way to replenish a weak farm system. One of the Mets’ biggest impact additions has been catcher Francisco Alvarez, who has been killing the baseball in his first year as a pro, making him the focus of this week’s edition of Minor League Mondays.
The Mets made a huge investment in Sanchez last year, signing the then-16 year old to a contract with a $2.9 million signing bonus. Sanchez was rated as the ninth best prospect in the international free agent class last year, and he has lived up to the hype in his professional debut. The Mets sent Alvarez to rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League this season, and he absolutely obliterated the league, hitting .462 with two homers and 10 RBI’s in just seven games. Alvarez was then promoted to Low-A Kingsport, where he has continued to hit, batting .309 with two homers and eight RBI’s in 22 games for the K-Mets.
Scouts are very high on Alvarez, who is ranked as the Mets’ fifth best prospect according to the MLB.com ratings. Alvarez’s bat has a ton of power potential, as evidence by his quick pop surge this year, so he has a chance to be a big time offensive player. There are some defensive concerns with Alvarez, who needs to improve his receiving skills but does possess a strong arm, but the Mets have plenty of time to be patient with the 17-year old.
Alvarez should finish this season with the K-Mets, but he has demonstrated so much potential that the Mets may have him bypass Brooklyn and begin next season with Low-A Columbia. This would expose Alvarez to full season ball for the first time, giving him more reps to improve his game both at the plate and behind the dish. The Mets do have Wilson Ramos signed through next season and hold a team option on him for 2021, so they may look to use him as essentially a bridge to get Alvarez through the lower levels of the farm system. Catchers have more responsibilities than most position players, so Alvarez’s development time should be a bit longer, but it could pay off with a massive reward for the Mets in the end.